Want to know the Best Anime of All Time?
Now, get ready to witness the best anime ever!
Here, we have come up with a list showcasing you 26 Best Anime of all time. We have compiled this list of best anime that you will want to see.
In fact, there are millions of fans of anime worldwide.
Moreover, its fan base is still growing.
Anime lovers are found in every corner of the world.
It would be of much interest to you to know the best anime series ever made.
Moreover, the term “anime” is used to denote any animation that originates in Japan.
It has many aspects that differentiate it from Western-style animation.
For instance, the comedy anime is much more explicit in their humor.
Moreover, the anime produced in Japan can have adult themes and stories, whereas the Western “cartoons” are primarily aimed at children.
Further up, the Japanese anime is much exaggerated, fantasy-oriented, and have animated visuals.
Anime essentially refer to animated films or TV series.
In fact, Anime TV series began gathering a huge following outside Japan in the 1980s. Ever since then, anime has continued to entice and find huge audiences in the West.
For example, the anime shows such as Cowboy Bebop or Dragon Ball Z have found large audiences for budded versions in English speaking countries. Similarly, Pokémon is a massive hit in both the US and Japan.
Well, anime style has become immensely popular in the US influencing the style and aesthetics of American animation.
Shows such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Samurai Jack, and Afro Samurai have borrowed much from anime in pacing, design, as well as subject matter.
This list goes on to present the best anime of all time.
However, before we move on and show you this amazing list of best anime of all time, here’s a brief description of the term “anime.”
Let’s get to know “anime” better.
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Table of Contents
What is Anime?
The word “Anime” is used to describe cartoons and animation produced within Japan. It is a Japanese cartoon series or an animated movie or show from Japan.
In fact, the word “anime” itself is simply the Japanese word for cartoons or animations.
Moreover, in Japan, the word “anime” is used for describing all cartoons irrespective of country of origin.
The word “anime” is pronounced as “ah-knee-may,” and in Japan, it is known for animation. However, outside Japan, the word “anime” is used for denoting animation from Japan.
For decades, anime has been produced by and for Japan.
However, from the last forty years, anime has become an international phenomenon and has been successful in attracting millions of fans and has been translated into different languages.
Anime shows fall into a number of existing genres such as comedy, action-adventure, sci-fi, Drama, horror, and so on.
Why is Anime Special?
The anime phenomenon can be summed up in two words: “It’s different.” They are different from American cartoons such as “Batman” and “Spider-Man.” These are not like comics that run in daily papers.
Anime is different as they go on to adopt a new form of storytelling, and artwork, a breath of material, as well as show cultural nuances that are exhibited by the characters.
Moreover, Anime exhibit flamboyant and outlandish style which has been rightly manifested in shows like “Samurai Champloo” and “FLCL.”
They can even have simple and direct style in shows such as “Azumanga Daioh!”
However, there can be anime with basic artwork that still can be visually appealing.
Anime goes on to make everything look fresh and new.
It even depicts epic storylines which can run into hundreds of episodes. Moreover, anime gets tremendous emotional involvement from the viewer.
The very range of anime shows just thrills any movie-fan out there. There’s much to be cheered about with anime.
For hard science fiction fans, the show “Planets” would be just perfect.
Then, “Fruits Basket” would be loved by romantic comedy fans and crime-fighting fans will love “Ghost in the Shell.”
Classical literature lovers will surely enjoy the adaptations in “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
Anime also present Japan’s history in their unique style.
Anime shows such as “Sengoku Basara” are takeoffs on Japanese history.
Even shows such as “Claymore” and “Monster” have tinges of a Japanese sensibility to them.
Moreover, even American cartoon productions such as “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” are much inspired by anime itself.
Is Anime meant for young kids?
Anime has a broad reach in the subject matter and so prove suitable for every age group.
Moreover, some titles are specifically meant for younger viewers like the animated series “Pokémon” while other titles are aimed at teenage audiences such as “InuYasha.”
There are even some anime that are meant for older teens like “Death Note.” For mature audiences, there are anime shows such as “Monster” and “Queens Blade.”
However, due to Japanese cultural attitudes for sexuality and violence, some titles have to be placed in a category higher than they would have in normal circumstances. For instance, nudity is handled much more casually in Japan.
So, anime distributors are rather conscious of these issues and go on to include MPAA rating (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) or even a TV Parental Guidelines rating for making it explicitly clear what the intended audience is for the anime show.
Now, let’s see the list of best anime of all time.
26 Best Anime Movies and Series
1. Akira (1988)
Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Akira is an iconic masterpiece of 1988. In fact, Akira has all the makings of an iconic film.
It offers superior animation and has visuals that are so classic that even a newcomer becomes intrigued by its semantic storytelling.
The trailer of 1988 Akira says, “Neo-Tokyo is about to explode.” Neo-Tokyo has been endangered after a secret military project makes a member of a biker gang into a psychopath having murderous tendencies and psychic abilities.
This itself is enough to get you interested.
Akira depicts a powerful nuclear allegory for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks and brings about an urgent unease about the looming shadow of the cold war.
2. Metropolis (2001)
Metropolis stands out as a wonderful blind interpretation of a classic piece of cinema.
In fact, the source material for this best anime movie has been derived from the 1927 science fiction classic by Fritz Lang with the same name.
Moreover, the 2001 animated version is a shoot up of a 1949 manga novel that is inspired by the author Osamu Tezuka’s childhood.
Metropolis is an adventure rooted in human relationships.
Tima which is a robot designed to rule the city goes missing. It is found wandering the slum-like streets at the bottom of the towering skyscrapers by Kenichi.
Metropolis has jaw-dropping animation and sweeping cityscape sequences.
3. Only Yesterday (1991)
Director: Isao Takahata
Only Yesterday comes as a simple slice-of-life story about the childhood of a woman and goes on to show the time spent in the countryside as an adult.
Takahata has shown human drama in an experimental art style. Only Yesterday is a touching and affecting story of a woman learning well past becoming an adult.
The storyline of Only Yesterday follows Taeko Okajima who is a 27-year-old unmarried office worker.
She goes on a holiday and visits her extended family in the rural farmlands of Yamagata where she harvests safflowers.
While still there, she reflects back on her time as a young girl when she grew up with her parents in Tokyo.
The storyline portrays the experiences that shaped her life in the present. Only Yesterday has the power of nostalgia to show us how our perceptions shape our lives.
Only Yesterday went on to become the highest grossing film of that year. It helped Takahata attain critical acclamation.
4. Ninja Scroll (1993)
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Ninja Scroll has been set in the Tokugawa era of Japan.
It follows the story of Jubei Kibagami who is a samurai warrior.
The storyline has been inspired by the real-life folk hero, Jubei Yagyu.
A government agent has recruited Jubei Kibagami for defeating the Eight Devils of Kimon, who conspire to overthrow the Tokugawa regime and wanted to plunge Japan into destruction.
Ninja Scroll went on to become the first titles to be released in the West by Manga Entertainment.
Ninja Scroll offers well-defined animation, unflinching hyper-violence, and has been loaded with creative fight sequences.
Ninja Scroll still remains a cult classic even to this day.
It is a must-see title all anime fans out there.
5. No Game No Life
It’s a brilliant anime, especially for gamers. No Game No Life is an anime series with a unique plot.
It materializes the concept of a fantasy world wherein everything has been governed by specific rules that one must follow all the time.
The two protagonists here are siblings that are named as Shiro and Sora, who have been violently transported to a different world being run by games.
It goes on to show how they adapt and develop a lifestyle so that they can survive in a world where games are no longer innocent and cool.
6. Steins; Gate (2011)
It is one of the greatest anime ever.
It is a perfect blend of comedy, romance, tragedy, sci-fi, and a little bit of action.
It featured an original premise and a well-crafted conclusion.
The plot is designed around time travel wherein a university student and his colleagues are required to use their knowledge for stopping an evil organization and their diabolical plans.
This thrilling anime series depicts the character of Mad Scientist which can easily become one of your favorites.
It is one of the best time travel anime ever made.
7. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
My Neighbor Totoro is one of the best works of Hayao Miyazaki. It’s a perfect family film that beautifully captures the essence of childhood down to its purest state.
This anime comes with beautiful settings, empathetic characters, and offers an infectious marching band theme.
It has been set in 1958 and follows university professor Tatsuo Kusakabe and his daughters Satsuki and Mei.
They move into an old house in the countryside to remain close to their mother who is recovering from a prolonged illness.
It shows the world through the girls’ eyes. This anime movie goes on to show the everyday magic of being a child. It depicts the beauty of meeting the world with an open heart.
8. One-Punch Man
One-Punch Man is a captivating anime that follows a hero who can end all his fights with a single punch. However, that gets him frustrated!
It beautifully captures how a superpower hero struggles to find a stronger enemy.
He struggles to feel the thrill as well as the adrenaline of the fights that he once felt when he was weak.
You need to see it yourself to know whether the training to become strong was not worth after all.
9. Redline (2009)
Director: Takeshi Koike
Redline is a critically acclaimed anime from one of the most talented animators of all time, Takeshi Koike. Redline is simply considered his opus which is also credited with directing projects such as Trava: Fist Planet, The Animatrix, and the Afro Samurai.
Redline is a stylistically bold high-octane racing adventure. It is truly a feast for the senses, a visual spectacle whose every frame is packed with meticulous, loving detail.
Redline is surely one of those anime films that come in the package of “must-see” for every anime lover.
10. Perfect Blue (1997)
Director: Satoshi Kon
Perfect Blue isn’t that anime with all space, disaster-futurism, and explosions. Instead, it’s a brooding hybrid of genres that goes on to tell a story that’s as human as it is supernatural.
In fact, the story was originally written as a live action movie. However, as financiers pulled out, it was reconceived as an animation.
Perfect Blue is a paranoid story about a retired pop star who makes a go for acting before falling prey to a deep invasion of privacy.
This anime movie acts a tense and gripping indictment of celebrity.
11. Nausicaä: Valley of the Wind (1984)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
It’s a fact: you can’t imagine anime without considering Ghibli.
This legendary animation studio has the honors of creating some genre-defining pieces of work over the years.
Nausicaä: Valley of the Wind is the film that started the Ghibli Empire. Director Hayao Miyazaki created this incredible tale that has been adapted from his own manga series.
It featured themes that would go on to become the foundations of later Ghibli works like flight, nuclear war, and the environment.
Nausicaä is surely a landmark piece in the history of animated cinema.
12. Your Name (2016)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Although it’s the newest film on this list, it’s here for a good reason. It’s an adaptation of the director’s novel.
Your Name comes as a low budget phenomenon that went on to taste commercial success worldwide. It’s also a critically acclaimed anime movie.
Your Name is a gorgeous, poetic tale about high school students – a boy in Tokyo and a girl in rural Japan – who go on to swap bodies.
It has been loaded with spectacular animation and emotional resonance. It has become the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. Your Name is well worth your time.
13. Death Note (2006-2007)
Death Note is one of those TV series that registered a gala reception from anime lovers worldwide. It’s a definitive watch for you.
Death Note has been told in over 37 episodes.
It pictures a high school student named Light Yagami who uses the supernatural notebook called “Death Note” to get rid the world of evil.
It portrays a simple concept: you need to write someone’s name in the book, and they die. However, it leads to pretty intense and complicated consequences.
It has gone on to gather a cult following in the US.
14. Fairy Tail
Produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight
Fairy Tail is one of the best action anime of all time.
It’s an action/fantasy series that offers one hell of a powerful punch. It is full of fun characters and epic duels that feature all sorts of magic.
It’s an anime that Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfilia among others belong to.
Go on to watch them as they accomplish missions and help others and raise the rank of their former top guild.
Fairy Tail is a heart-warming and funny action series filled with friendship and honor as central themes.
15. One Piece
Produced by Toei Animation
One Piece has the status of being one of the most popular anime series out there.
It’s a swashbuckling adventure that goes on to feature duels with supernatural powers, fun characters, voyages, and tons of pirates.
In fact, One Piece is one of the most-watched action anime series. It goes on to fulfill any action craving that you have.
The storyline follows Luffy who is on a quest to find the lost treasure of former King of Pirates. He’s not alone, of course. In fact, every pirate is searching for it!
Luffy gathers a crew of ragtag teammates each having their dreams and goals.
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Naruto is undoubtedly the most famous anime internationally.
So, it rightly deserves a spot on this list.
Experience the many adventures as well as misadventures of Naruto, a knuckle-headed ninja. You are surely in for a fun viewing experience in this fantastic anime series Naruto.
Naruto was never a talented ninja until he discovers the hidden powers of the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed within him.
His other strong point is his bright personality and determination to be friends with everyone.
He nurtures the dream of becoming the leader of the Fire Village of ninjas. He also goes on to protect his friends from the countless evils.
So, there’s much in store for you at Naruto anime series.
17. Dragon Ball Z
Produced by Toei Animation
Dragon Ball Z is a must-watch show if you love the ‘80s vibes.
It features all the right kinds of cheese with amazing fight sequences, power up, and SUPER SAIYANS!
This anime goes on to portray the character of Son Gokuu that has been inspired by the Monkey King of the classic Chinese literature.
However, Son Gokuu has been shown as an alien, the last of the Saiyans. He now lives on Earth and protects the planet from various dangers that befall it, including dangers from other aliens and even gods.
18. Hunter x Hunter 2011
Hunter x Hunter is loaded with superb action has great characters and even scenes that are sure enough to pull your heartstrings.
Each of its episodes will make you laugh, cry, or bite your nails as you go on to watch its great action scenes.
Its storyline revolves around Gon who was raised by his aunt. He believed that he was an orphan for so long.
It happens that one day, Gon comes across a Hunter who tells him that his father Gin was alive and is a world famous hunter. Gon then decides to travel the world to find his dad.
19. Samurai Champloo
Produced by: Manglobe
Samurai Champloo is an amazing anime that takes you through some good, old-fashioned samurai swordsmanship.
It goes on to show two very skilled yet diagrammatically opposite samurais that are forced by circumstances to take on a quest together.
However, it’s not a series with the power of love and friendship. Its depicts Mugen and Jin who cross swords the first time they meet. Fuu is the young waitress of a teashop.
20. Code Geass
Produced by: Sunrise
Code Geass is a superb anime series that incorporates supernatural ability, action, as well as moral messages.
It’s an amazing action series done right.
Code Geass depicts that this world is ruled by three factions: the Holy Britannia Empire, the Chinese Federation, and the European Union.
Lelouch is the prince of Britannia Empire who made a vow to his childhood friend Suzaku to bring down the Empire. However, ultimately they end up being on opposite sides.
21. Gurren Lagann
Produced by: Gainax
Gurren Lagann is perhaps the most entertaining anime on this list. It is something that you should never miss to see.
It’s an anime featuring epic battles, busty female leads, controversial characters, and humor.
It features Simon for whom digging is the only way of life. Humans have been forced underground by the ruthless King Lordgenome.
He guns down any who dare to poke their heads to the surface. Simon is the one who fights for the right to live under the sun.
22. Attack on Titan
Produced by: Production I.G and Wit Studio
Attack on Titan is one of the most popular anime of all time. In fact, Attack on Titan took the anime community by storm.
It is rightly called one of the best anime within the past five years.
It goes on to showcase amazing battle equipment, cliff-hangers, badass soldiers, and is studded with some awesome epic sparring matches, going on to become one of the most amazing action anime series.
It shows a world that is terrorized by the giant man-eating humanoids called Titans. Eren Yeager decides to fight back by joining the military service.
23. Cowboy Bebop
Produced by: Sunrise
Cowboy Bebop has been rightly dubbed as one of the greatest anime series of all time. It excels in every area imaginable including action.
The fight scenes are simply amazing. Cowboy Bebop is surely a must-watch anime series.
In year 2071, humans have moved out of the now unfit-for-life planet Earth to other non-gaseous planets of the Solar System.
It shows the spaceship Bebop travel the stars on several missions.
Produced by: Brains Base
Baccano! is another very popular anime series on this list.
It has been studded with an outstanding set of characters, storyline, action theme, and has an overall jazzy style.
25. Princess Mononoke (1997)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Princess Mononoke is an amazing fantasy epic. It depicts a hyper-realistic version of the late Muromachi period that saw the rise of Zen Buddhism.
Mononoke is a superb tale that meditates on spirituality as well as the environment.
It’s a Ghibli production that has dominated the anime landscape.
26. Soul Eater
Director: Takuya Igarashi
Soul Eater is another popular anime series directed by Takuya Igarashi. It is one of the most amazing anime ever created. Its animation style is so unique and lovely.
All the characters have been developed very well. The fighting scenes are just superb and have been beautifully animated.
The plot is thought out hard and is thoroughly interesting. There are sad, meaningful episodes as well as lighthearted fun episodes.
It would not be long for you to get hooked. So, Soul Eater is surely a must-watch anime!
We hope that you must have enjoyed this presentation on 26 best Anime of all time. Now, it’s time to experience the magic of best anime of all time.
We are quite sure that you must have already finalized the list that you would go on and watch with your friends and loved ones.
Well, anime is surely damn interesting!
So, don’t just let go any of these best anime. Its surely going to be an amazing experience for you.
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